The Elements: Volcanoes and Hot Glass Workshop at NGC

The Ordered Universe team recently gathered once again at the National Glass Centre for a workshop focused on the text De impressionibus elementorum (The Impression of the Elements) by Bishop Robert Grosseteste c.1170 - 1253. The Elements text describes just that, Earth, Air, Fire and Water make up the medieval world and Grosseteste puts forward how everything we see in the world around us is a mixture of these elements. The focus of the workshop was a nod to Grosseteste's description of bubbles and we saw them take shape in many forms throughout the day.

We began with with a reading of the text and our individual interpretations before moving to the hotshop for glassblowing demonstrations and a bubble inspired piece by Colin Rennie. After the temperature was really ramped up we cooled off over lunch and then enjoyed a presentation from Joshua Harvey about his recent work on medieval imitation gold.

Dr Ed Llewellin and Dr Fabian Wadsworth then showed us some volcanic rock samples and gave us demonstrations on how the fluid dynamics of lava flow are dictated by the movement of bubbles. We all had great fun trying to get bubbles of maple syrup to overtake each other!

Then back to the hotshop for some more demos and for everyone to get their hands dirty making bubbly paperweights and expressive pyrographs (pouring hot glass onto dampened paper). A very informative and enjoyable day was had by all and we eagerly await the next stage of what is sure to be a very creative response to The Elements.

Thanks to Cate Watkinson, Colin Rennie, Claire Todd and Giles Gasper for such a great day.